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Water Policy

Part 5: Disaster at the Oroville Dam

About February 7, 2017, the local residents near the Dam had become acutely aware that the water coming from the dam was far in excess of the usual flow. The water is, in part, released over the main spillway. But due to poor planning by the Department of Water Resources, the emergency spillway need to be called into service.

The emergency spillway had never been used since its “construction” in, about 1960. The emergency spillway was not designed to even be used since the construction planning was faulty. Hence the 2017 disaster provided the proof.

Since the emergency spillway dumped volumes of water onto the landscape huge amounts of vegetation were washed away. The loss of vegetation resulted in erosion with devastating effects. Then the main spill began to give way and more radical erosion ensued with huge sections of concrete being unearthed and moved hither and yawn.

Flooding in the communities lead to over 190,000 evacuations. Schools, medical facilities public and private locations were under a few feet of water. The damage was incalculable. Many have said that the disruption of lives is unforgivable.

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